I normally would not quote two articles from the Huffington Post, but they are Boston specific and make a ton of sense to me.
I've been trying to figure out this whole FiOS rollout in Boston. There has to be a sweet deal in there for Verizon for them to re-neg on years of telling the city, "No, no FiOS for you". Now I have the smoking gun.
In this first article, it explains the financial aspect of the deal. In short, this article says that Verizon (wireline) has minimal CapEx budgeted for expansion. And this corroborates Verizon's consistent stance that they have no plans on expanding their wireline network.
Verizon's CFO, Francis Shammo says:
“So the $300 million, you’re not even going to see it in the Wireline capital numbers. It’s already there.”
So they aren't investing any new money into a roll out. This just does not make any sense, since they would need additional CapEx to bring the fiber to many neighborhoods that do not fiber running to their street. So how would they actual do it without any additional CapEx costs?
According to the second article, it seems like much of the fiber cable exists under the streets of Boston. And they would use these cables, which are owned by Verizon (wireline) to power these new 5G devices that will be installed on the light poles, as Shammo explains further:
“When we looked at Boston, it was a city that we needed to densify for the LTE network. So as we looked at all of our current COs around the footprint and the fiber that we already had there, it kind of was a no-brainer to us to say, we can do the fiber bill (build) out to expand the LTE densification. But we also can use this opportunity with only an increment of about $300 million over the next 5 years to 6 years to expand our FiOS footprint.”
“So we will get to this. But we are starting to - we will start this mid-year this year for especially the 5G and 4G LTE densification. We will start the Internet capability with the passing homes.”
So what does this mean? This means Verizon won't be bring fiber optic cable to your home for internet service, rather they will be installing 5G LTE service to the poles near your home, and giving you a wireless device to connect to this service to give you "FiOS-Like" speeds, but not actual traditional wired FiOS service.
The articles go onto further point out that Verizon is not pushing hard to get a cable TV franchise with the city like they have in the past with other FiOS rollouts. Why? because if the "last mile" is wireless, Verizon does not have to conform to laws pertaining to cable TV (i.e. get a franchise to offer TV service) because the laws only apply to wired connections, not wireless.
Of course, this all brings up three big issues and questions:
1. Verizon (wireline), a state utility, is funding Verizon Wireless expansion. This is a big no no, since Verizon Communications (wireline) and Verizon Wireless are two very separate entities and must operate in that manner. (and certain tax breaks and laws, only apply to Verizon (wireline) and cannot be applied to or used by Verizon Wireless)
2. And if they do not plan to bring fiber optic cable to your home, like everyone else thinks they will. Verizon lied to the city and it's citizens to think they are getting traditional FiOS service (i.e. Fiber cable), when in reality they are giving you wireless service.
3. Did city hall actually know they are plan rolling out wireless, and not fiber optic cabling to your home? And if so, shame on the city for allowing this notion to continue to the residents.
Now of course, these articles are up for debate, but it makes sense. Just look at what happened to parts of New Jersey and Fire Island New York after Hurricane Sandy, where wireline service was cut, and was replaced with Verizon Wireless service (and of course reversed and FiOS was installed, after law makers took Verizon to court). Verizon has no interest in expanding or fixing its wireline network, and Boston seems to be no different in that stance.
So the bottom line is.. In order to access to the city's poles for Verizon Wireless, Verizon (wireline) promised FiOS to the city, and got it. Now it seems like the city may not be getting traditional FiOS at all, but a wireless product. A true bait and switch.
The City of Boston, you were mislead! You're not getting FiOS, you're getting "FiOS-Like" Wireless Service. Verizon played a shell game with the city and won!
For the record, I'm not against this plan. If they can provide reliable speeds using this new service that would match FiOS service levels, then I'm all for it.
But what I am against is how Verizon was able to gain access to the poles to do so by lying to the city. You want to start a new wireless product, go ahead. But don't lie to the city and it's citizens with promises of a traditional product, when in reality it's not going to be that.